(NBC) (02/12/21)— Three people who survived on coconuts for 33 days before they were rescued from an uninhabited island in the Bahamas are now in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, officials said.
A helicopter crew spotted the stranded trio waving a large makeshift flag Monday during a routine air patrol around Anguilla Cay, a chain of islands between the Florida Keys and Cuba, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The two men and one woman, who are from Cuba, were taken to the Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West, Florida, before they were arrested Wednesday by Border Patrol officers and transferred to an ICE facility in Pompano Beach, Florida, the Coast Guard said.
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
In a video shared on Twitter, Miami crew members with the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast can be seen dropping food, water and a radio to the castaways.
Weather, however, delayed their rescue until Tuesday, according to officials.
The group told the rescue crew they swam to the deserted island after their boat capsized in rough waters, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Murray told the newspaper that their survival was nothing short of a miracle.
“I cannot recall a time that we saved people who were stranded for over a month on an island,” he said. “That is a new one for me.”